Bridge Safety Expert Available to Comment on Minneapolis Bridge Collapse Findings

Jan. 16, 2008

AUSTIN, Texas — A University of Texas at Austin structural engineer from the Cockrell School of Engineering is available to discuss the findings related to steel plates identified as the fault point in the design of the Interstate 35-W bridge that initiated its collapse last summer in Minneapolis.

Dr. Joseph Yura, who has 40 years experience studying steel bridge design and stability bracing, will comment on the findings announced yesterday by the National Transportation Safety Board. The board indicated that steel gusset plates were half as thin as needed to serve as safe connectors for steel support beams (girders) along the center of the Minneapolis bridge.

Yura studies ways to improve the design of steel bridges. He is also a member of the Research Council on Structural Connections that develops design requirements for bolted connections on steel structures. These include the bolts and rivets that attach gusset plates to girders. Yura has designed solutions to overcoming stability issues related to steel bridges and buildings. For his studies of how to improve the stability of steel structures during their design, he was elected a member of the prestigious National Academy of Engineering in 2000.

An emeritus professor of civil engineering since 2006, Yura remains involved in steel bridge research at The University of Texas at Austin.

For more information, contact: Barbra Rodriguez, Cockrell School of Engineering, 512-589-8561 (mobile), 512-471-7541.